At this very moment, what things are right in your life? What things are not as you had hoped? There’s a fair amount of both, I’m sure. It seems small decisions transform into big consequences.
Upon the recommendation of a good friend and brother, I’ve been
reading Mark Batterson’s book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. You never know what you’re going to get with book recommendations, since we’re all so different, but I liked the title and the image of danger it conjured. I have different categories into which all the books I read fall. This one goes into the top category, as it is potentially a life-changer. I say “potentially,” because whether it changes anything is dependent upon me. It certainly stirs the fire.
Not So Calculated Risk
In the book, the Biblical character of Benaiah is featured. Benaiah, who first became a guard under King David, rose to become commander of all the armed forces of Israel. He got his start by taking on two Moabites, chasing a lion into a pit (on a snowy day, mind you) and slaying it, and fighting an Egyptian despite lack of armaments. He took some risks, wouldn’t you say?
I differ from Batterson’s contention to a small degree because I don’t think at least one of these was a totally calculated risk. At least with the lion, there has to be a fair amount of conviction present in a person in order to say “Here goes nothing!! One of us ain’t coming out alive, you foul beast!” I’ve never met an ancient Egyptian or Moabite, but I don’t think they weighed in at anything approaching 500 pounds, didn’t have paws and claws as big as your head, or a mouth full of teeth that could crush your skull, nor were they as unpredictable as as a wild beast.
The Moabite and Egyptian slayings could’ve been the result of calculations. After all, Benaiah was, apparently, a warrior-type. He liked his chances, despite the odds. But, there must be more to the lion story. I’m guessing the lion did something sufficiently heinous as to cause Benaiah to go Medieval on it (Yes, I know “Medieval” hadn’t come around 3,000 years ago, but anyone can “get medieval” at any time in history). Point is, he made a split-second decision that the lion was not coming out of that pit alive. It did not.
The further point is, those three decisions shaped the course of Benaiah’s life. They all involved some degree of calculation. Was he scared? Every time. The Bible doesn’t say he was, but he had to be.
Lions: Faced and Otherwise
If you don’t want to reflect on your life and ponder your future, then don’t read In a Pit with a Lion, because you will. In looking at my life now, the good, the bad, and the ugly (and the pretty, as I do have two daughters and a wife), I see the decisions that got me where I am.
There have been many times where I said, “Wow. There’s TWO Moabites. I’ll wait for backup.” And, “I can’t deal with that lion right now. It’s too overwhelming. And scary. I’m a bad dude, but only 175 pounds (well 200, but who’s counting) and he’s 500. I have a new knife I got for Christmas. It’s sharp, but he has 10 razor-sharp claws and, from the looks of it when he roars, 700 huge shark teeth. And, you know, he’s probably got a family to care for, sooo….”
Most of the times where I shied away from my lions have resulted in the parts of my life that have fallen short. In some situations, I’ve cut my losses, moved on, and it was the right calculation. On the contrary, when I simply neglected to do a thing because it was difficult, well, I got what I earned.
The Butterfly Effect
As I’ve said before, where might my writing career be if I had faced the lions of negativity? At worst, it would’ve failed, I would’ve reassessed my tactics and gotten better. As it stands, I might now be facing that very problem in the future, rather than it being a thing of the past.
At the time of each decision, they didn’t seem like much. Batterson highlights the Butterfly Effect theory in In a Pit. You know, the theory that a butterfly flapping it’s wings can have an impact on something clear across the world. Each decision not to take on a challenge or face a problem didn’t feel like much, but over time they compounded and had a huge impact.
In the past few days, I’ve taken steps to ensure that I make the most out of the lions I have slain, face the lions that are in my way, and dispatch them without delay. I will fail, I will succeed.
The lions that seek to inhibit me deserve to die a quick death.
What are Your Thoughts?
I know I could stand to hear some success stories? Do you have any? Are you facing any lions and need some encouragement? Speak your mind in the comments and let’s all assist one another.